Friday, December 31, 2010

Bartolo Colon? Yeah, Right

I had no intention of posting anything today, as I am preparing for tonight's New Year's festivities. Like every other fanatic, I'm assuming, I thought that the next couple of days would be quiet on the Yankees front, and wasn't expecting to hear anything "startling" until Monday at least.

So you can imagine my surprise (disgust?) when I read today that the Yankees have shown interest in Bartolo Colon. Bartolo Colon. Bartolo Colon? The more I repeat his name, the more I become baffled at this new development, but I wonder whether this is a true development at all.

According to, the news of the Bombers' interest comes from Colon himself (red flag, red flag). Not to call the guy a liar, but this could be a case of self-promotion here, as the former Cy Young winner would not be the first player to ever embellish about his possible suitors. Even if the Yankees inquired about Colon as he played in the Dominican Winter League, it doesn't mean that they are genuinely interested in his services. I find it very hard to believe that they would be.

Colon was one of the more viable pitchers in the league from his first full season in 1998 'til his Cy Young season in 2005 when he won 21 games. He completely fell off the radar after that posting losing records in three of his next four seasons, and he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009.

I am not going to put too much into this story. I don't believe that the Yankees are so desperate that they would actually consider signing Colon. Cashman has preached patience and making deals that "make sense," and this just doesn't make any sense. The Yankees are as inclined to sign Bartolo Colon as they are to re-sign Carl Pavano. It just ain't gonna happen.

And, remember this?

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: Yankees Greatest Hits

The 2010 season was an eventful one for the Yankees as the team looked to become the first back-to-back champions since, well, they were the back-to-back-to-back champions from 1198-2000. As we all know, the Yankees were eluded of another WS run, but there were still a lot of good things that happened this season. Here are my picks for the best of the Yankees 2010 season:

Robinson Cano's season - Cano had an MVP-caliber season in 2010 hitting for.319 with career highs in home runs with 29, and RBIs with 109. Beside his fabulous regular season, Robbie was stellar in the postseason hitting .333 and .348 in both the ALDS and ALCS series, respectively. He won his first Golden Glove Award for his elite defense of second base and his second Silver Slugger Award.

A-Rod's 600th Home Run - On Aug. 4, exactly 3 years to the day of  hitting his 500th homer, Alex finally reached no. 600 after going homer-less for 13 games following no. 599. The milestone capped the efforts of the reinvented, re-focused A-Rod, who has won over fans in New York after he pretty much took the Yankees to the WS in 2009. A-Rod became the 7th member of the 600 home run club, and only the 3rd player behind Barry Bonds and Willie Mays to have 600 homers and 300 stolen bases.

Pettitte and Hughes' first half - The first half of the 2010 season saw complete domination from Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. By late June, both pitchers combined for a 19-3 record with a 2.80 ERA.

Sabathia's 21 wins - CC lead all AL pitchers with 21 wins in 2010. He finished the season with a 3.19 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 197 strikeouts, which placed him 6th in the AL, and 3rd in the AL Cy Young voting.

Jeter passes Ruth on All-Time Hits List - On Aug. 8, Derek Jeter hit his 2,874th hit with an RBI single, passing babe Ruth on the all-time hits list with 2,873. Even more sweet was the hit came in a 7-2 Yankees rout of the Red Sox.

Yankees 95 wins - With AJ Burnett's horrible season, Andy Pettitte's late-season absence on the DL, Jeter and Texeira's poor hitting and weaknesses in the bullpen, the Yankees still managed to win 95 games and come within only 2 games of returning to the WS.

Hope Week - for the second straight year, the Yankees launched Hope Week in which they reach to members of the Yankees community worthy of recognition. This year's event saw the team honor a family hosting a quadruple amputee; a blind woman who regularly travels 2 hours from New Jersey to see Yankee games; a civil war refugee from Sierra Leone in Africa who works multiple jobs to support his family back home; a team of "Beautiful People" play on the field at the stadium; two young girls who have battled homelessness and work to help support their mother.

What are your hits for the 2010 season? Write in and share.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra-cooper

Monday, December 27, 2010

Greatest Hits: Derek Jeter

He's the captain. He's been the face of the Yankees franchise for more than a decade. He's help propel the Yankees to their last 14 playoff appearances, and he leads all active players in postseason hits. He is the Yankees' all-time hits leader and is on his way to becoming the first Yankee ever to reach 3,000 hits. He is ranked by MLB Network as the 7th greatest shortstop of all time and is surely on his way to being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is Derek Jeter, and here are his greatest hits.

Derek Jeter the best moments
Uploaded by pepincuba. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve, and I am preparing to embark on a crazy day of last-minute shopping for the family. There's not much going on on the Yankee front right now, and so, I am shutting down Bomber Boulevard for a few days to enjoy the holiday and get some needed rest. I will return to posting duties shortly after Christmas; hopefully there will be some major developments to report (Andy, can you hear me?) If not, I will continue my Greatest Hits series with none other than Derek Jeter.

I would just like to say to all my readers that I appreciate you guys taking the time out to view Bomber Boulevard. I began this blog on a whim; not knowing if I would even have the time to keep it current or if I would allow myself to become distracted with all the other personal stuff that I'm trying to get done in my life. But, I've been rolling along since October and I'm proud of the work I've done here, and even prouder to be able to share this blog with you all, my Yankees family.

With that said, I wish you all the merriest of Christmases and sincere blessings for a warm holiday season.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Damon Returning to the Yankees Unlikely

Brian Cashman made it clear today that the Yankees reaching out to Johnny Damon was just them doing their due diligence, and that they really don't have a need for their former outfielder.

"It was just part of our canvassing process," Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN. "It's something we do with every free agent. I can't tell you if anything's going to happen there. There's not a clear role for him here.''

As I posted earlier, Damon would see limited play time if he did come back to New York, and that's not something I believe he is willing to do yet. The Yankees are stacked with young outfielders who will pretty much see playing time everyday, sans the occasional day off. At best, Damon would probably fill in to hit against a left-handed pitcher that Brett Gardner or Curtis Granderson have difficulty hitting against. And as far as DH goes, with less wear and tear from not being the starting catcher, Jorge Posada should improve on the number of games he plays which would be over 100 if he stays clear of any injury, so there's not much use for Damon there, either.

Cashman also debunked rumors of the Yankees' interest in pitchers Freddy Garcia and Brandon Webb. Webb has been of particular interest in the rumor mill throughout the blogosphere, being a former Cy Young Award winner. But he hasn't pitched in almost two years following shoulder surgery. Shoulder surgery is far worse than elbow (Tommy John) surgery, and most teams are skiddish about signing pitchers who've gone through it; they're never quite the same afterword.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Talk With Manny Ramirez

Ok fanatics, the title doesn't say that they are indeed interested in Manny Ramirez, it simply says they talked to Manny.

Which is part of their due diligence which they impart every year with free-agents who fit a need. This is the sentiment of YES Network's Jack Curry who tweeted about the talks today.

Apparently the Yankees are in need of a right-handed outfielder and Ramirez fits both bills. But it is unlikely that the Yankees will take a chance on him, as his reputation both on the field and in the clubhouse precede him. I do realize that there are some fanatics out there who wouldn't mind seeing Manny in pinstripes because they respect his game, as do I, but he's not the right "fit" for this organization. It's too bad though, because Manny still has the "stuff" that walk-off dreams are made of.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Johnny Damon Back to the Yankees?

This from Ken Davidoff of Newsday:

"While the Yankees' primary focus remains pitching, they have been communicating with free agent Johnny Damon about a possible return to the Yankees for 2011, Newsday has learned.

"Four sources said that Damon and the Yankees were talking about a role in which Damon, 37, would get occasional at-bats as a designated hitter and fill in at leftfield, allowing starting leftfielder Brett Gardner to either rest or shift to fill in for centerfielder Curtis Granderson or rightfielder Nick Swisher."

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Johnny Damon was an integral part of the 2009 WS team with the Yankees and during his tenure in the Bronx, we witnessed him come up big many times in key situations. He can still hit and he's beloved in the clubhouse and by the New York media. But Damon is in decline offensively and defensively and it just isn't smart for the Yankees to bring another aging player back into the fold.

Consider what Damon did last year with the Tigers in comparison to '09 with the Yankees. His batting average from '09 to '10 dropped from .282 to .271 with 13 fewer plate appearances in Detroit, 11 fewer at-bats and 26 fewer runs. His SLG percentage dropped from .489 to .401, his lowest since slugging .396 in 2007. And, his OPS took a big dip from .854 to .756.

I like Damon, but there's no real upside to bringing him back. Posada will probably play a lot more games at DH than he has the past few seasons as catcher, and unless Gardner, Granderson or Swisher suffer any significant injury, I don't see where Damon will get much playing time. Besides being a back-up outfielder or DH, he may be called in to pitch hit against a left-handed pitcher, but that still won't amount to the kind of playing time that he probably wants. All-in-all I doubt that the Yankees will bring him back.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yankees Will Pay $18 Million Luxury Tax

Via The Associated Press, the Bombers will have to pay a whopping $18 million in Major League baseball luxury taxes. Whopping yes, but the highest they've ever been hit with? No. Last year, the Yankees price tag was $25.7 million.

Thus far, the team has slashed $12 million from their "budget" by reducing spending on players. They've also cut $5 million from their payroll.

"Atta baby," Brian Cashman said. "And right now we're in the $170s." The last statement alludes to their outlook on payroll for 2011.

Since 2003 when the luxury tax began, the Yankees have paid $192.2 million. They must present a check to the Office of the Commissioner by January 31 as per the collective bargaining agreement. The Red Sox are the only other team who have to pay a luxury tax. There's is for $1.49 million.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

One of "Hank's Yanks" Gets Minor League Deal

Here is the article from Bryan Hoch of

For Leonel Vinas, it had been enough to spend a summer wearing a uniform for "Hank's Yanks," the youth ballclub sponsored by Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner. 

Now the 19-year-old Long Island product will have a chance to don the pinstripes at the next levels. The Yankees announced on Tuesday that they have signed Vinas, the right-handed ace of Steinbrenner's team, to a Minor League contract. 

"I've been to China and Japan to try to bring back some players, and it's great also to be able to show that we can look right around the corner here in our own backyard and find players, too," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. 

Vinas' entry into the farm system is the first product of Steinbrenner's involvement with the youth team, which is comprised of talented players from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds throughout the New York area. 

The highlight of Vinas' season was a victory over Mariano Rivera's All-Stars at Yankee Stadium, when Vinas' outdueled Mariano Rivera Jr. for a 3-2 victory that clinched the first annual "Boss' Cup." 

"It was incredible," Vinas said. "The team was sponsored by Hank, and he called us after most of the games to see how we were doing. He came to the game at Yankee Stadium. It was the best experience I've ever had." 

Vinas signed his deal after being called to the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., for three private tryout sessions, working off a mound in front of Steinbrenner, vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer and vice president of player personnel Billy Connors. 

A 2009 graduate of Freeport High School in Freeport, N.Y., who moved to Long Island from the Dominican Republic at age 11, Vinas said playing under the Yankees' umbrella had only been a distant dream. 

That changed when a friend introduced him to special adviser Ray Negron, who saw Vinas' promising fastball, curveball and changeup arsenal and brought him to Steinbrenner's team. 

"This is not a baseball story. This is a story about life in New York City, and one of the kids out on the streets of New York City," Negron said. 

Vinas said that at the beginning of this year, he "wasn't really doing anything but being in the streets," but as the season went on and he spent more time on the mound, his prospects improved. 

He was 12-0 with a 1.12 ERA in 84 innings pitched for "Hank's Yanks," recording 168 strikeouts, including two no-hitters -- a four-inning no-hitter vs. Adelphi University and five no-hit innings vs. Suffolk Community College. 

"They told me, 'You've got a chance to be a Yankee,'" Vinas said. "When they first told me that, I didn't believe it. I didn't think it was true. As the season went on, it got bigger and bigger, and here we are now. My dreams are coming true." 

Vinas said that he will report to Tampa in two weeks to begin his professional career, expecting to start in Rookie ball as a reliever. It will be the first rung on a ladder that the Yankees hope he will be able to climb. 

"This is real. He's got talent," Cashman said. "We're looking forward to seeing where the talent takes him. I try to tell all the players that we sign, we're going to make sure that we provide everything at our disposal to see if the dreams can come true."

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yankees May Stick With Current Rotation

This was not the offseason that Brian Cashman nor the Yankees fan base thought it would be.

The Yankees were supposed to get Cliff Lee. Many, including myself, believed that acquiring "The Assassin" was more than just having the best postseason pitcher of the past 2 seasons in the rotation; it also may have been the clincher to Andy Pettitte making an early decision to return.

As of today, Lee has signed with the Phillies, again, and Andy remains undecided. The only other pitcher remotely close to Lee's or Pettitte's caliber was Zack Greinke and he's been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. With no star pitchers left to acquire, Cashman is preparing for the possibility that the rotation may stand where it is.

"I'm not saying I want to do it, but I may have to do it," is what the GM told ESPN's Wallace Matthews yesterday. Assuming that Andy  won't return, he added, "If we get Pettitte back, so much the better. But I'm not waiting for him. He told me not to."

As the pickings have gotten grossly slim on the starting pitcher front, there is a real possibility that a new starter won't be acquired until sometime in the season. If the Yankees are desperate enough, they may have to trade some key prospects which is what they refrained from doing for Greinke.

Cashman has always been vocal about pitching being the key to winning. He's certainly in a position he doesn't want to be in, but there's not much he can do. I'd rather see the team use the young arms in their farm system to fill the possible 5-spot in the rotation, rather than go out and acquire a sub par pitcher out of desperation.

However, the verdict is not out yet on Andy Pettitte. He's taken this long before, in fact, even longer. We'll just have to wait and see what his heart tells him.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, December 20, 2010

Austin Kearns Returns to Indians

Here's the article from

Meet the Indians' new right-handed-hitting outfielder, same as the Indians' old right-handed-hitting outfielder. 

Austin Kearns is back. Kearns, who won a job with the Indians last spring training, has agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the Tribe. He is the first free agent the Indians have signed to a big-league deal this winter. 

Kearns' deal includes performance bonuses. 

"We think he's a great fit," said GM Chris Antonetti. "He's a right-handed-hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. He's smart, tough and plays the game the right way." 

The Indians traded Kearns to the Yankees for right-hander Zach McAllister on July 30, one day before the non-waiver trading deadline. 

Kearns hit .272 (83-for-301) with 42 runs, 18 doubles, eight homers and 42 RBI with the Tribe. He had an OPS of .773 -- .419 slugging percentage and .354 on-base percentage. 

Overall, he hit .263 with 10 homers and 49 RBI. He had a .746 OPS, but played sparingly for the Yankees.
"We talked to some pretty good teams," said Kearns, concerning his off-season negotiations. "In the end, Cleveland was the place to come back to." 

Kearns and his wife, Abbey, have a home in Westlake. 

"Living outside of Cleveland definitely played a part in me signing here," said Kearns. 

Last year, Kearns came to camp as a spring training invitee on a make-good deal. He won a spot on the club and earned $750,000 in base salary. 

"I enjoyed playing here," said Kearns. "There are a lot of good guys on this team. Guys I've maintained relationships with. They have a lot of talented young guys on this team." 

The Indians' projected starting outfield of Grady Sizemore, Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo are all left-handed hitters. Kearns was primarily a left fielder last year, playing 91 games there. 

Shelley Duncan, Trevor Crowe and Chad Huffman are the other right-handed-hitting alternatives among the outfielders. Crowe is a switch hitter.

The Indians must drop someone from the 40-man roster to make room for Kearns. They do not have to do that until MLB and the players association approve the contract. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Luis Vizcaino Returns to Yankees

According to this tweet from Greg Carig of's The Star-Ledger, the Yankees have signed Luis Vizcaino to a 1-year, minor league deal worth $750,000. he'll have to make the team out of Spring training.

Last time we fanatics saw Vizcaino in pinstripes was in 2007 when he went 8-2 with a 4.30 ERA. He had struggled in the beginning of the season that year, but settled down during the second half. However, he pitched horribly against the Cleveland Indians in the 2007 ALDS, posting a 13.50 ERA allowing 2 hits, 1 run and 2 walks in 2/3 of an inning. The Yankees are obviously continuing to stock up on relievers. This isn't a bad move by the Yankees, but it's also not a great move. Vizcaino would probably be used to pitch to one batter in an inning when necessary or to eat up some innings if a starter struggles.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Zack Greinke to the Brewers

This has by far been one of the crazier offseasons I've seen in a while.

 In another unsuspecting twist on the trade front, Royals ace Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, this according to a confirmation tweet by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated who confirmed the news after it was posted by blogger Jim Breen of Bernie's Brew Crew on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's website. Apparently some fans were suspicious of the rumor, and rightfully so as many belived the Rangers would acquire him.

An interesting note to all this is that Greinke told the Royals that he wouldn't mind going to New York as Jon Heyman later tweeted. Greinke was the Yankees best option to fill the void of losing out on Cliff Lee, but the team said that they were not "enthusiastic" about a possible trade for Greinke due to his mental struggles, and the Royals were seeking too much in a trade.

It would have been interesting though to see what the Yankees may have done had Greinke been left lingering for a while longer and continued to voice his willingness to go to the Bronx. I'm not saying that the Yankees would have made the trade, as they would surely have had to give up key prospects for Greinke, but a trade for Greinke would definitely have relieved the anxiety that many fanatics still feel after Lee signed with the Phillies. Perhaps even, maybe the Royals, looking to release Greinke, would have been willing to re-negotiate on their terms with the Yanks, which was reportedly a trade including Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Eduardo Nunez.

Another interesting note: the Yankees may finally face Greinke next season, as they host the Brewers June-28-30. Greinke hasn't pitched against the Yanks since August 2008 at the old stadium.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mo Will Talk to Pettitte

The Yankees and Bomber fanatics know that their best hope of making a serious run for another championship will be if Andy Pettitte returns and puts retirement on the back burner for one more year.

So does Mariano Rivera, and he wants to try and gauge where Andy's head is at right now.

"I might try to reach him soon. My message will be - I want to hear what he's doing, what he wants to do. If he wants to continue playing, I think we would have a good shot."

These were Mo'son  words Thursday, as reported by Mark Feinsand and Anthony McCarron of the Daily News yesterday. According to the article, Mo may even try to talk Andy out of retirement.

"He would have the last word, but yes," Rivera said.  "Andy, to me, is one of the best left-handers out there. I would take him any time."

Although Andy has yet to make a decision, this is good news as history has taught us that the longer he takes, the more likely he is to return. We'll wait as long as it takes.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Official: Cubs Bring Back Wood

Kerry Wood is officially back with the Chicago Cubs.

The right-handed reliever passed a physical and inked a 1-year, $1.5 million deal to rejoin his former club. Before his agreement with the team, it was said that Wood was seeking closer-type money, which on average would be somewhere around $8 million per. Obviously, Wood pulled what I'm now terming a "Cliff Lee," and opted for less money to return to the team he loves. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Bill Hall Signs With Astros

Former Red Sox utility man Bill Hall signed a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Astros today according to this tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. He will be their everyday second baseman.

The Yankees were reportedly "aggressively" pursuing Hall, who would probably have been a back-up outfielder. He's not a star-type player, but he can hit, and he hit well against the Bombers last season. With the Red Sox, Hall posted a .247 AVG in 119 games with 18 homers and 46 RBIs. Not bad numbers for a utility guy who also possesses speed and solid defense.

This signing by Hall will probably push the Yankees into an aggressive pursuit of Jeff Keppinger, the Astros utility guy that the Yankees have shown interest in.

Earlier this month, the team made Keppinger available for trade as they try to cut their payroll. He hit for .288 in 2010 with 59 RBIs and only 6 homers; solid numbers for a bench player. He's been primarily used as an infielder  for most of his career so he could be used whenever A-Rod or Jeter need days off or, the Yankees may look to utilize him in the outfield as a back-up to Gardner, Granderson or Swisher. Hopefully, the Yankees won't have to give up too much in a trade for him.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Feliciano, Yanks Agree to Deal


The Yankees' search for lefty relief has reportedly brought them to one of the most durable relievers in baseball. 

On Friday, the club agreed on a two-year contract with southpaw Pedro Feliciano, according to several media reports. Jon Heyman of and MLB Network, who first reported the deal, wrote that the contract is valued at $8 million and includes a third-year option. 

The Yankees declined comment on the deal, which isn't official until he passes a physical, and Feliciano's agent could not be reached by 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yankees "Not In" on Rafael Soriano

The Yankees have their closer, and apparently are not looking to pay closer money to would-be relievers.

Thus, Joel Sherman tweets that the Yankees are "not in" on the Rafael Soriano bidding. Soriano, who pitched for the Rays last season, is a closer and a damn good one. But the Yankees would only sign him as a reliever to be the set-up man for Mariano Rivera and Soriano is seeking closer-type money. Brian Cashman has made it clear that he will not overspend for relievers and so, this signing will never come to pass. It's too bad though, because a Soriano-Rivera pairing would resemble the good ol'days of the Tom Gordon-Rivera era, when "Flash" struck out batters left and right.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees May Be Interested in Freddy Garcia

The Yankees have asked for medicals on RHP Freddy Garcia of the White Sox; this according to a tweet today by Andrew Marchand of

Last season with the White Sox was Garcia's first full season since 2007, of which he had shoulder surgery. He posted a 12-6 record in Chicago with a 4.64 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in just 157 innings. He's a 2-time All-Star and 12-year vet who's had some memorable seasons--his best being the 2001 campaign where he went 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 238 innings--but his best years are clearly behind him.

His fastball is all but disappearing from his repertoire and he can only dial it up to 88 mph. That number is nothing to cough at, as we fanatics saw what Mike Mussina was able to do with his fastball at that range for the latter years of his career. But Garcia is not in the class of a Mussina, thus lacking the ability to locate and "paint the corners" as an adjustment to pitching with a "slow" fastball. Garcia's best pitch is his changeup, but he uses it less than his fastball. He is prone to giving up too many home runs and his BAA is worst than the league average--if he's ahead in the count, batters slug .373 (LA is .308); when he's behind in the count, batters slug .536 (LA is .498). Take a look at the following graphs. Note: graphs are his daily values, not season values:

So am I at all for the Yankees signing Garcia? Depends on the situation. If the Yankees want him as a possible reliever, he could be of some value, but definitely not as a starter. If Andy Pettitte returns, the Yankees best option is Ivan Nova in the 5-spot. If Pettitte retires, they should bring up one of the Killer B's.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Martin Inks New Deal; Needs Knee Surgery

On the day that Russell Martin officially signed his new 1-year, $4million contract with the Yankees, it's been reported that the catcher will need knee surgery.

Like his soon-to-be teammates, CC Sabathia and Jorge Posada, Martin will have surgery to repair a minor torn meniscus in his right knee. This was first reported by George A. King III and Brian Costello of the NY Post. And, like both Yankees vets, Martin's recovery period is expected to be three weeks, so he should be ready to go by the time Spring Training arrives.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees Close to Deal With Pedro Feliciano

Bob Klapisch of Fox Sports tweeted this morning that the Yankees are close to securing a deal with LHP Pedro Feliciano. This update is the latest on the Yankees-Feliciano front as there have been rumblings of the two sides working on a possible signing since the Winter Meetings.

Feliciano will add another viable lefty arm to the Yankees' bullpen. In 2010 with the Mets, he pitched in 92 games, having a 3-6 record with a 3.30 ERA and WHIP of 1.53. He's a solid pitcher with a 88 mph sinker and sharp slider that allows him to neutralize left-handed batters. He's lead the league in appearances for the past 3 seasons, so he is a work-horse, but at age 34, there should be some caution as to decreasing his innings. 

I'm all for this signing. Hopefully he's looking for a reasonable deal, which in my opinion would be for no more than two years at around $8-$9 million.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Kerry Wood Close to Deal With Cubs

Looks like Mark Prior won't be reunited with his former teammate after all.

According to this article from David Kaplan of the Chicago tribune, reliever Kerry Wood appears to be on the verge of signing a deal with the Chicago Cubs, his former team of which he pitched for the first ten years of his career. No word yet on how many years the deal is for or the pay.

The article mentions that Wood has "made his home" in Chicago and that he wanted a deal that would be best for his family. He pitched many solid seasons in Chi-Town as a starter, and still has close relationships with many people in the Cubs' organization; it makes sense that he would opt to go there.

This is a bit disappointing to us fanatics, however, as many of us were hoping that the Yankees could bring Wood back to be the bridge to Mariano Rivera. I think we all appreciate the pitch job he did for us in the latter stages of last season, particularly his ALDS game 2 gem against the Minnesota Twins. But, all is not lost as the Yankees have a viable reliever in Joba Chamberlain.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pettitte to Make Decision Soon

Get ready for another big announcement, fanatics.

According to this tweet from Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, Andy Pettitte is expected to decide whether or not he'll return to the Yankees for the 2011 season in the next few days. This is exciting news, as we have all been patiently waiting to know whether our beloved star lefty will revive a now-compromised rotation, and give a run at the title one more go.

I don't think anyone will argue that right now, the Yankees need Andy Pettitte if they want their best chance to advance to and through the playoffs next year. The Bombers lost out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, and at present, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre are the projected back-end of their rotation. If the Yankees get Andy, Mitre, who sports a career ERA of 5.27, will remain in the bullpen. The rotation would probably look like this:

CC Sabathia
Phil Hughes
Andy Pettitte
AJ Burnett
Ivan Nova (TBD)

This is a similar rotation to that of the 2009 WS Championship team, except Burnett and Hughes were in the 2 and 4 spots respectively, and the 5th starter was Joba Chamberlain.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Russell Martin Passes Physical

Via this report from, catcher Russell Martin passed his physical today and is now a New York Yankee.

Martin's deal with the Yankees is reportedly for 1 year at $4 million.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Sign Mark Prior to Minor-League Deal

Cliff Lee was not the only pitcher the Rangers were hoping to retain and vie with the Yankees for.

According to this article in The New York Times, Rangers pitcher Mark Prior received offers from both teams. After days of deliberation, he's chosen to sign with the Yankees.

If you didn't already know, Prior was originally drafted by the Yankees in 1998 as the 43rd pick in the amateur draft. He never signed with the team, and was selected 3 years later by the Cubs as the 2nd pick in the 2001 draft (Minnesota's Joe Mauer was the 1st pick). He made his debut with the Cubs in 2002, but had a so-so year with a 6-6 record and 3.32 ERA in 19 games. In 2003, his first full season, he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA. That year, he was elected to the All-Star game, ranked 3rd in CY Young voting and came in 9th in voting for the NL MVP Award.

Prior was never the same dominant pitcher though after 2003, as he became plagued with shoulder and elbow injuries. He stayed with the Cubs until 2006, which is also the last season he's pitched in the majors. In the interim, he's had several surgeries and one inning of baseball with the Rangers' Oklahoma City AAA team last season. Dusty Baker, Prior's former manager with the Cubs, has been widely blamed for overusing Prior, thus resulting in his breakdown.

The Yankees are hoping that Prior will add needed depth to their bullpen. His contract will pay him $750,000 guaranteed, with an additional $750,000 in incentives if he makes the team out of Spring Training. He will be reunited with Larry Rothschild, his former Cubs pitching coach who now holds that position for the Bombers. Prior may also be reunited with former teammate Kerry Wood if the Yankees can re-sign him.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yankees Get Russell Martin

Here is the press release from

The Yankees have agreed to terms on a contract with free-agent catcher Russell Martin, multiple sources told on Tuesday. Details of the deal were not immediately available, but it is expected to be announced at some point on Tuesday. 

The Yankees have not confirmed the signing. 

The Bombers missed out on Cliff Lee late Monday night, when the ace left-hander spurned them -- and the Rangers -- to sign with the Phillies. But New York also beat out Boston and Toronto -- though in a far lesser way -- to obtain the services of Martin, who was non-tendered by the Dodgers this offseason. 

Martin, 27, was deemed among the best catchers in the National League from 2007-08, when he was a back-to-back All-Star while compiling a .286 batting average, .380 on-base percentage and 32 homers. But after a down year in '09, when he compiled a .250 batting average, Martin played 97 games in '10 and then missed the rest of the season with a broken right hip. 

The Yankees are expected to have veteran Jorge Posada serve as a full-time designated hitter next season, while Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli and highly touted prospect Jesus Montero are expected to compete for playing time at catcher in Spring Training.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Not Hurt By Lee's Decision

According to this report by Wallace Matthews of ESPN New york, the Yankees and Brian Cashman appear to be OK with Cliff Lee deciding to pitch in Philly. They are relieved, actually.

Two sources within the organization told Matthews that they felt as early as Sunday that Lee would not pitch in New York because he had more than enough time to take the deal. One member of the Yankees front office even went as far as recommending they pull the deal altogether to pursue other players. All-in-all the organization seems relieved in the fact that Lee's off the NL; the Yankees are not scheduled to play the Phillies this year during inter-league play, so the next time they would see Lee would be in the World Series.

The sources also shed light on the Yankees reaction to losing out on Lee. One source said that following the announcement of Lee's decision, the Yankees made calls to teams looking to make pitch trades; the other source said that he believes now the Yankees will step up their quest to woo back Andy Pettitte.

As for their take on Lee, the sources actually applauded Lee for choosing the team he really wanted over the money.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Phillies Win the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

Well, on the morning that Cliff Lee decides to sign with his former team--no, not the Rangers, the Philadelphia Phillies--it snows in New York. How poetic.

That's right fanatics. If you're just hearing this, Cliff Lee's agent contacted Brian Cashman last night to inform him that the Yankees were out of the running. About an hour after midnight, it was announced that "The Assassin" agreed to a deal with the Phillies, who it had been said just yesterday morning, were not pursuing Lee. But that changed by last evening, as MLB Network reported that the Phillies were back in pursuit. Looks like the Phillies front office played the media and everyone else to go stealth on this one. When I heard that the Phillies were back in the mix, my gut said that Lee would go back; unfortunately, I was right.

What this pretty much means for the Yankees now, is they will have to do everything--and I do mean everything--they have to to convince Andy Pettitte to come back. If Cashman has to fly down to Texas every weekend to cook Sunday dinners for the Pettitte family and their in-laws, neighbors, church members, etc., he damn well better do it.

But Andy returning is just one hump for the Yankees to get over. Who will be the fifth man in their rotation? As it stands right now, that would be Ivan Nova, but I don't think the Yankees will just settle for their novice pitcher. With the money they were going to pay Lee now available, the Yankees can still make some moves.

I read a report this morning that they are still out on pursuing Zack Greinke, but I think that maybe now the Yankees should revisit that option. If Greinke truly is interested in playing in New York as it has been said he is, he's certainly more than worth considering; his history with anxiety disorder and depression make him seem unsuited for New York, so it will be interesting to see which way the Yankees may go here. Now that the Yankees are close to an agreement on a 1-year deal for catcher Russell Martin, a package for Greinke would almost certainly include Jesus Montero, and possibly Brett Gardner (I hope not!) along with other prospects from the farm system.

Mark Buerhle of the White Sox is another option that the Yankees could trade for. He's a solid lefty with a perfect game under his belt and a career ERA of 3.85 which is admirable. He's not a strike-out type pitcher and doesn't have any one masterful pitch, but he can go deep into games and that's a plus. He could also give the Yankees at least 14 wins. There are also other free agent pitchers available, but all-in-all, Greinke is really the Yankees' best option.

The Yankees have a lot of work to do now. While the Lee saga is disappointing, it is not at all a wrap for the Bombers.

So, the Lee sweepstakes is officially over. Now maybe fanatics, we can go back to our normal lives.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lee's Agent In Touch With Yankees

Left to right: Braunecker, Lee, and friend
Via this tweet by ESPN's Buster Olney, Cliff Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker has been in touch with the Yankees this morning. No word on any agreement yet as "the process is on-going" according to the agent. 

What this means at least, is that the Yankees are still very much alive in the Lee sweepstakes. Olney also tweeted here that the Rangers are "moving aggressively" to acquire Adrian Beltre, who has turned down offers from the Red Sox and Oakland A's. Olney believes, as do I, that the move on Beltre may be the Rangers' Plan B if Cliff Lee opts for the Bombers. There were a lot of rumblings within the Rangers organization this weekend that they were feeling good about their chances of Lee coming back; perhaps this latest development speaks otherwise.

Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nick Swisher Wed Actress Girlfriend Yesterday

Congratulations to Nick Swisher, who married actress JoAnna Garcia yesterday in an evening ceremony at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fl.

The two began dating in May of '09 and became engaged a year later. Yankees teammates who attended the wedding were Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Cash Says "No" to Increase for Lee

According to a report today by George A. King III of the NY Post, the Yankees are not planning on increasing their 7-year offer to Cliff Lee.

"No," was Cashman's answer to whether or not the Yankees will increase the offer at some point. Cashman last spoke to Lee's agent on Thursday, and now like the rest of the baseball world, waits for "The Assassin" to announce his decision.

The Yankees, who are favored to win the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, are getting a run-for-their-money from the Texas Rangers. Owner Chuck Greenberg visited Lee again last Thursday at his home in Arkansas to present him with multiple offers. Yesterday, Rangers manager Ron Washington, said that his gut tells him Lee will return to Texas. Also yesterday, Yankees fans got a scare as a false rumor that Cliff Lee had indeed chosen Texas, began circulating on Twitter.  It was quickly debunked and all has been quiet on the Lee front since.

Not sure if this is just Cashman using the media to give hope to Texas in case they decide to go to a 7th year for Lee, and then the Yankees swoop in at the last minute and increase their offer. I do believe though, that if the Yankees had to increase their offer, they wouldn't hesitate to do so. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Greatest Hits: Alex Rodriguez

While we wait on word from Cliff Lee, let's take a breather and revisit one of our own, who has miraculously kept himself out of the spotlight so far this offseason. Third up in the Greatest Hits segment is none other than Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. You can talk about his "off-the-field drama"; talk about his steroid admission; talk about his shaky friendship with Derek Jeter. You can talk about all these things and still have to agree that A-Rod is one of the best baseball players to ever play the game. His stats are far beyond the reach of many. His career awards and milestones will blow your mind. And just for good measure--because this is MY blog and I can say what I want--he's the sexiest man to put on the uniform. So, with that said, here is the best of A-Rod. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Waiting Game

The Winter Meetings have come and gone.The hope of the Yankees and their fanatics was that they would come away with at least an agreement from the biggest prized free-agent this offseason, Cliff Lee. While the Yankees have done everything possible to convince "The Assassin" to join the ranks of a now questionable rotation in the Bronx, the southpaw remains undecided. Will he come to New York, lured by the biggest contract for any pitcher in history? Will he stay in Texas, secure in the camaraderie of his former teammates and closeness to his home in Arkansas? Or will he go to the "other" team, whichever team that is, attracted by an offer that best suits his needs? These are the questions that many wish they knew the answers to, but will have to wait to find out.

Word is that Lee will make his decision sometime this weekend, probably today. Whatever he decides, it will change the dynamic of the Yankees status in the AL East, tremendously. If Lee accepts the Yankees' offer, they will remain the favorite to win the AL east, no question. A rotation with "The Assassin" in the 2-spot behind CC Sabathia, followed by Phil Hughes and hopefully, Andy Pettitte equals a level of domination that has been absent from the team since the late 90's when Pettitte, El Duque and David Cone terrorized everyone. But, if this deal falls through, the Yankees will be without an ace lefty who can neutralize the better lineups with good left-handed hitters like the Boston Red Sox. It will also force the Yankees to go with a novice in Ivan Nova--yes, although he has pitched as a starter, he has yet to do it for a full season and he has yet to pitch a quality start of 6+ innings, so he's still a novice--and even worse, if Andy Pettitte does not come back, the Yankees will have try and find a decent lefty to make a trade for, as there aren't any viable lefties left on the free-agent market. Otherwise, expect to see either Sergio Mitre or perhaps Andrew Brackman in the 5th spot.

And so, fanatics, we wait. We wait to see whether or not Lee is of a higher moral standard than other athlete I've ever known, by choosing camaraderie over money. If he proves to be the archetypal "show me the money" man, we should all be celebrating very soon.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Yankees Interest In Crawford Just a Bluff

Looks like the "Evil Empire" strikes again.

Check out this tidbit from Jack Curry of the YES Network and pay close attention:

"[Brian] Cashman had dinner with [Carl] Crawford’s agents on Tuesday, which was a bluff and was probably designed to get the Red Sox to inflate their offer to the leftfielder. The Yankees never made an offer to Crawford, and Cashman conceded that the Yankees weren’t interested in signing him. The Red Sox made an offer to Mariano Rivera, who the Yankees then signed quickly, and they also made a seven-year offer to [Cliff] Lee. Cashman might have been returning the favor by feigning interest in Crawford."

So the Yankees were never interested in Crawford. I've been saying all along that they didn't need him as in my opinion, Brett Gardner is the second coming of Crawford; all he needs is another full season in the lineup to improve his swing and timing. Curtis Granderson has his "first year in NY jitters" behind him and Nick Swisher just came off one of the best seasons of his career, and breeds an air of enthusiasm and positive energy. It also makes sense now why Crawford jumped on this deal from Boston. It was believed that he would wait out a deal for Lee so that if the Yankees didn't sign "The Assassin", he'd benefit from a huge offer that they were sure to make to him. With the Yankees making no offers, he made his move to the only other AL East team that could pay him big money.

But the more surprising revelation is that it was Boston that made the 7-year offer to Cliff Lee. I kinda, sorta suspected as much, but couldn't be sure as none of the sportswriters at the meetings seemed to know that it was Boston and there was never any mention of them as a team who'd even make that offer. Seems like Boston has re-upped on the bravado that was snatched from them when the Yankees stole Mark Teixeira two free-agent seasons ago. They've been relatively quiet until now and are probably looking for some retribution against their old nemesis.

But Cashman always seems to be two steps and a drink ahead of his competition. As I posted here, I suspected that Cashman's pursuit of Crawford was somehow in retaliation for Boston offering a deal to Mariano Rivera. Having them also pursue Lee was I guess, the ultimate no-no for the Yanks. While it had been assumed that Crawford would get a huge deal all along, Boston may not have made it as lucrative as it was if the Yankees didn't fake getting in on the action. 

So kudos to you, Cashman. Not only did you expose the Red Sox fears, you also proved to the fans of Red Sox Nation that their team too, will spend big money to "buy" a championship.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees and Red Sox In Bid War for Russell Martin

According to this tweet by Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Yankees are apparently going head-to-head with Boston to acquire LA Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. The Yankees are probably looking to shore up a back up in case they fear Jesus Montero may turn out to be another Ian Kennedy.

Montero is an excellent hitter, but his defense has been described as questionable. Yankees might want him to tighten it up a bit. Getting Martin would give Montero more time and cool any reservations the Yankees may have.

Martin has been with the Dodgers since 2006. He is a 2-time All-Star (2007-08) and has both a Gold Glove (2007) and Silver Slugger Award (2007). He hit .248 with 5 homers and 26 RBIs in just 97 games in 2010. His season ended in August due to a torn labrum in his right hip. The Dodgers did not offer him arbitration for 2011 and so he became a free-agent.

This will go down to the wire. While the Yankees have a need for Martin, Boston's is even greater. They no longer have Victor Martinez to catch and although they exercised their option for Jason Varitek, his decline will limit his time behind the plate. They have Jarrod Saltalamacchia slated to start, but he saw very little action in 2010. Stands to reason that they'd prefer and need a more seasoned presence behind the plate to complement Varitek, and they'll have that in Martin. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Jeter to Work With Kevin Long

If anyone thought that Derek Jeter was simply going to bow to old age for his issues at the plate, they don't know how competitive the Captain really is.

Via Joel Sherman's blog, Jeter will be working on his swing this winter with pitch coach Kevin Long. Long, who re-signed with the Yankees as their hitting coach for the next 3 seasons, has been applauded by many in the baseball world for his knowledge of hitting and ability to get to know his players' strengths and weaknesses in helping them improve their swing. He's changed seasons for Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson and helped A-Rod get back on track following last year's hip surgery. During late-August of 2010, a year in which Jeter struggled posting a dismal .270 ERA, he worked with Long and for the remainder of the season, hit above .300.

Although this is the first time that Jeter has ever sought help on his swing during the offseason, it should come to no surprise to anyone that Jeter would seek out Long this winter. The Captain is coming off a free-agency saga that had him and the Yankees in a lengthy negotiation process made difficult due to Jeter's struggles this past season. He is the uber-competitor, and it would be unlike him not to address his shortcomings in order to silence his critics. I expect in 2011 for Jeter to have the kind of renaissance season hit-wise as he did in '09 when he improved his defense to answer the rumblings that it was the worst for his position at shortstop. 

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Improve to 7-Year Offer for Lee

The Yankees are doing whatever they have to to get there man.

According to this tweet by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Yankees have moved into the next stage of the Lee sweepstakes with a 7-year offer. It has been reported throughout the Winter Meetings that a team was willing to offer Lee a 7-year deal, but that team was not the Yankees. Seems now the Bombers know they would have to up the ante from their original offering of a 6-year deal for Lee, as Carl Crawford just agreed to a mega-deal with the Red Sox for 7 years, $142 million. Crawford was to be the Yankees plan B if a deal with Lee fell through.

This is definitely crunch time for the Yankees. With Crawford out of reach, the only signing left that would make any major impact on their reign in the AL East would be for "The Assassin". If they don't sign Lee, their offseason efforts would be considered a failure and the Red Sox would be the true winners of the free-agent market this year, considering the Crawford deal and the trade for Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres.

No way that the Yankees would ever just allow that to happen, so they're doing what they have to. If going a 7th year for Lee is what has to be done, the Yankees are certainly able to make it happen. The Rangers, who are the other favorite in the Lee sweepstakes, are said to be unwilling to go beyond six years for Lee. Expect to hear about several phone calls being made to Lee from the Texas front office over the next few days as they try even harder to pitch his familiarity with the club and the comforts of being closer to home.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Red Sox Get Carl Crawford

The Red Sox have come to an agreement with Tampa Bay Rays left-fielder Carl Crawford on a 7-year deal worth a snazzy $142 million.  This according to a report by MLB Rumors of this tweet via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Looks like Red Sox Nation was hell bent on outdoing the Yankees at these Winter Meetings by attemting to make the biggest splash this offseason. I say attempting because no deal made this free agency will trump that of whoever wins the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, and bets are that it will be the Yankees.

It's been said throughout the blogosphere and sports pages recently that Crawford was to be the Yankees plan B if the Cliff Lee deal fell through. During the Winter Meetings, many sportswriters said the expectation was that Crawford would wait until a Lee deal was done because that would put the Yankees in the mix to bid for him and we all know that the Yankees would have won that bid war. Crawford would be the only free-agent left that would make a significant impact on the Yankees status in the AL East. But, perhaps Crawford was ready to get a deal done; he was probably willing to go to either team as the Red Sox and Yankees are always expected to top the AL east and make a run for the World Series Championship. The deal makes Crawford the highest paid outfielder in history.

Should Bomber fanatics be at all shaken by this news? I don't think so. Sure Crawford is a superstar and a sure bet as he has no problems physically and has yet to show any signs that his speed is causing wear and tear. But the Red Sox are working with a lot of maybes right now. Maybe Jacoby Ellsbury will be back to his true form and stay injury-free in 2011; maybe Adrian Gonzalez will rehab well from shoulder surgery and be ready for Spring Training;  maybe Big Papi will have another season worthy of his player option being picked up for next year; maybe Jonathan Papelbon will decrease the number of blown saves next year and get back to an ERA of below 2. Maybe, maybe, maybe. There's no real assurance that Crawford's signing means Red Sox domination in 2011. And if the Bombers sign Cliff Lee, we'll have the two top lefties in the AL to neutralize those pesky lefties in Boston's lineup.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yanks Make First Offer to Lee

This according to a tweet by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Yankees have finally made an offer to Lee for 6 years in the range of $140-$150 million. this comes in the wake of rumors that there are now two teams that are willing to offer Lee a deal for 7 years.

The Bombers seem unwilling at this point to go to a 7th year for Lee and that's reasonable. A 6-year deal is more than admirable for a 32 year-old pitcher, and it matches what Lee has been asking for all along. We fanatics know that beside a 6-year offering, the Yankees have history as a back-up to lure Lee in if a 7th year begins to attract his attention. I also believe that if they absolutely have to, they may go to a 7th year. With the Red Sox signing a power-lefty to their lineup in Adrian Gonzalez, the Yankees will certainly do what they have to to sign the best lefty on the market to their rotation.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yankees Talk to Crawford

According to this report from ESPN Boston, the Yankees met extensively Carl Crawford's camp yesterday. Now that the Yankees have finalized contracts with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, they can move forward with plans A and B being Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, respectively.

Its been assumed by many reporters who are attending the Winter Meetings, that the favorite to possibly land Crawford is the LA Angels because they have the greatest need and would probably go all out to make him a lucrative offer. The Red Sox are also said to be in serious talks with Crawford.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Moseley Close to Deal With Padres

According to this tweet by Ken Rodenthal of Fox Sports, former Yankee and free-agent RHP Dustin Moseley is on the cusp of signing a major league deal with the San Diego Padres.

My guess is that it will probably be a one-year deal, maybe similar to the one-year, $900,00 deal Sergio Mitre got with the Yankees. Moseley did a pretty decent job during his tenure with the Yankees, but struggled a bit more so. Hopefully, he'll have a better go of it pitching in the NL, as seems to be the case with most pitchers who make the transition from the AL.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Dave Eiland to Tampa Bay?

This being tweeted NY Post's Joel Sherman, Dave Eiland may have found a new home with the Tampa Bay Rays, not as pitch coach, but as an executive.

I don't think anyone saw this coming. Perhaps Eiland was willing to reunite with his former team in whatever capacity available. It's been said that he has maintained relationships with several in the Rays organization, so perhaps this will be a good way that he can escape the spotlight of a pitch coach yet still remain active in baseball. Dave Eiland, good luck.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

The Ever-Classy, Derek Jeter

What I have been waiting to hear since the Jeter negotiations began, came to fruition about an hour ago as Derek Jeter, spoke to the media for the first time, in a press conference announcing his "return" to the Yankees.

The level of class that the Captain has always exhibited was shown again today to no one's surprise. What was surprising, was Jeter's openness about his anger and frustration of how the negotiations were played out in the media:

"I'm gonna be honest with you guys," Jeter said. "The thing that probably bothered me the most was how public this became, you know, this was a negotiation that was supposed to be private.

'It was an uncomfortable position I felt that I was in. It was not an enjoyable experience...because throughout the years I prided my self on keeping things out of the papers and out of the media, and this turned into a big public thing. That was something I was not happy about and I let my feelings be known.

"This whole situation when you talk about free agency...I never wanted to be a free-agent; it was the situation that I was in, but I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't angry at how some of this went."

On a lighter note, when Jeter was asked if he could ever really see himself play for any other team after the multitude of PhotoShopped pictures of him in other team jerseys appeared everywhere, the Captain responded, "Well I've been PhotoShopped in a lot worse pictures than other teams' uniforms. I don't know if really that's that bad."

"But no," he continued. "Like I've said time and time again, I never wanted to go anywhere. I can't stress that enough; this is the best organization in all of sports. We have the greatest fans in the world.

"You talk about this being a negotiation...I wasn't negotiating with anybody; I was just basically talking with the organization I wanted to play for."  

When he was asked by Sweeny Murti of WFAN to elaborate on who he was angry at, the ever-classy Jeter declined, citing that now he and the Yankees were all "one big happy family."

I am very proud of my Captain and now I believe, contrary to what I've said recently, that waiting to have his say at this press conference was the right idea. My worry was always that Jeter was being made out to be unreasonable behind the scenes by the Yankees front office. But what else could I assume when they were the only ones doing all the talking? I guess there's the lesson about ass-uming. But today, Jeter made the Steinbrenners, Cashman and Levine look like antagonists who should have known better. It has always been Jeter's style to come out on top, and after today, he remains there.

Bravo, Captain. Bravo.

Follow rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Nats Not In On Lee Sweepstakes

The hot news making the rounds at the Winter Meetings yesterday was that a team expressed willingness to offer "The Assassin" aka Cliff Lee a 7-year deal for an undisclosed amount. It was widely believed that the said team was the Washington Nationals. But according to this tweet by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Nats are not in on the Lee sweepstakes, but there is a team out there that's willing to make the offer.

I recently heard from a fellow Yankee enthusiast that the family who owns the Nationals also owns the Washington Wizards and their arena, the Washington Mystics of the WNBA and the Washington Capitals. So for those of you who were flabbergasted by the amount of the Jayson Werth contract--7 years, $126 million--apparently this family has a lot in their arsenal to throw around. Knowing this now, it would not have surprised me at all if they had made a bid for Lee as they can probably afford to do so. I don't think that it would have mattered though, because it will be a while before the Nats become contenders which really means a bit more to Lee than a 7th year.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Jeter To Hold Press Conference Today

At 2:30 pm today, Derek Jeter will hold a press conference at Steinbrenner Field in his home city of Tampa, to discuss all the juicy details surrounding his now-finalized $51-$65 million, 3-year deal with a 4th year player option with the Yankees.

No word on what the Captain is expected to cover. Fanatics should expect the usual "The Yankees are the only team I want to play for," or "I want to thank the Yankees for blah, blah, blah."  What I'm hoping is that Jeter will shed some light on his perspective of how the negotiations played out and what he was really hoping for and why.

Watch the press conference live on SportsCenter.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Will Offer Lee 6-Year Deal

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted this morning that the Yankees are planning to offer Cliff Lee a 6-year deal. Apparently, the Yankees are not affected by yesterday's rumor that a team has expressed a willingness to offer "The Assassin" 7 years.

A six year deal will probably bank Lee a payout of between $138-$150 million. While the Yankees have yet to officially announce an actual price on any contract offer for Lee, the range is what most baseball analysts believe it probably will be.

If Lee is now seeking 7 years, there's no question that this is the result of the Nats signing Jayson Werth to a 7-year, $126 million deal. This is one of the dangers of top free-agents getting erroneous contracts; the other free-agents' agents that have yet to come to an agreement for their client tend to get greedy and seek comparable compensation. While Werth is just one year younger than Lee, his wear-and-tear will be considerably less by age 38 as an outfielder than Lee at 39 pitching.

MLB Network begins their second day of live coverage at the Winter Meetings today at 11am. There will probably be some buzz surrounding the Lee rumor and the Yankees potential offer. Stay tuned...

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ ra_cooper

Will Andy Pettitte Return in 2011?

We fanatics have grown accustomed to the "Andy dance" that has taken place the past three winters; the one where Andy Pettitte mulls over whether or not he will retire. Right after the Yankees' season is over he goes home, realizes how much he misses his family, drops a statement here and a statement there to the media eluding to his desire to stay in Texas and raise his kids, only to come back and pitch another season of stellar, gritty baseball. 

By referring to this as the "Andy dance," I am in no way making light of what is probably an emotional, tough decision for Pettitte to make each year. He is a father with 3 boys that are involved in sports that he would like to be there to cheer on; he has a daughter that, knowing his sweet, caring persona, is in all likelihood the epitome of "daddy's little girl;" he's married to a beautiful wife that he loves, and lives in a city that remains ever so close to his heart. It has to be agonizing for him when there are so many reasons that he could, and perhaps should, call it a career and say good-bye. If you believe this, this may be the year when it actually becomes a reality.

According to this tweet yesterday from Bob Klapisch of Fox Sports, friends of Andy say that he is definitely retiring. An article in this morning's Daily News by Mark Feinsand reports that at the end of the season, Andy told GM Brian Cashman that he was leaning toward retirement. Cashman admitted on Monday that, "I talked to his agent about a week to 10 days ago and he told me his position hadn't changed. I move forward like I've done the last few winters. This is what Andy does; he goes home and deeply thinks about what's the best next step for him and his family. He'll come to some sort of decision on that.

"That's the first time he's ever done that, telling me that directly."

Could this really be the dreaded end of the road for Andy Pettitte? Will he return in 2011? These questions are not so easy to analyze and draw a conclusion on, yet. There is still a lot of life left in ol' Andy and his competitive nature seems to rise up in him as Spring Training grows near. I've said on so, so, so many occasions that I truly believe if the Yankees acquire Cliff Lee, Andy will come back. Friends have said that may be the one reason why he doesn't come back; he may believe that the Yankees will be in good enough hands with Lee in the rotation and that it would be the best time for him to walk away and not feel like he's left the team hanging. My thoughts are that he would want to come back and be part of a rotation that has the potential to run the American League and lead the Yankees to another championship.

We fanatics can only wait this out and accept whatever the final resolution will be. There is still no way of knowing what Andy will do yet. There may be some truth in what Cashman also added:

"Recognizing that Andy has gone through that before, I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to play, too."

I personally plan on wishing, and hoping, and praying that Andy will come back. I'm selfish and I don't care.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper